Can someone explain what drives the price of faucets & help pick?

gavavemomMarch 6, 2013

I have a builder grade Moen pullout that is corroded and needs to be replaced badly. It sits on a plate on top of a ceramic white 2 basin Kohler sink. We have no plans for a remodel now but do in the future. We need a new faucet now that will sit on a plate but when we upgrade will sit through one hole. I am spending a lot if time trying to figure this out and my husband keeps saying its just a faucet! My budget is about $300 and I really like the high arc faucets with a pull down. We only have about 2.5 inch clearance now between the current faucet and the Formica backsplash. There is also an open window between the kitchen and the sunroom. From what I've been reading here, getting something that is all metal is important but why is getting a metal hose important? I like modern, clean lines and am looking for something that will go with our stainless appliances. Some of the faucets I've seen are quite tall (around 16") and have a bulky base and handle. Why are some faucets so expensive and others not so much? Anyone have any recommendations on brand, model? I appreciate it!

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Many of today's faucets come with an optional plate that you can use, so finding a faucet you like that you can install now and re-use after the remodel should not be a problem. If your new sink does not need a plate, you just don't re-install it. Depending on what you find under your current plate, you may not need it on the current sink when you do the replacement.

All metal is important for longevity. Many manufacturers make a less expensive version of their faucets for the big box stores that have plastic components. That is how they are able to offer the same look for a lower price. I will say most of the pull down faucet internal hoses are not metal but a mesh. Some faucets are more expensive due to their finish, some due to warranty that is offered (i.e. lifetime finish), some because of the brand, etc

As far as recommending a brand/line. We have the Delta Addison with stainless finish in our current kitchen & Delta Allora with stainless finish in the laundry & we're happy with them. The Allora was more expensive than the Addison, but it is also a heavier, more quality feeling faucet. You may want to check out the Allora as its more on the modern side. We had Moen & then Price Pfister in our last home. The Price Pfister was the Moen replacement when it started leaking and I didn't have time for a warranty replacement to be sent. Both were big box store products.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:52AM
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just bought a grohe high arch faucet with pull out at Lowe's for under 100.00. They are closing them out and will not carry them in store anymore. It weighs a ton. Look for a closeout and look on amazon. I have seen a lot of last years model cheap at boyh places.
Bought my bathroom faucets at lowe's too. Grohe that I have seen for 269.00 for 104.00
Tough decisions....

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:27AM
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The Delta Trinsic might fit your needs (modern, clean lines and a stainless finish) and is also in your price range. One nice thing about it is that it has a toggle switch so that you can toggle back and forth between the regular and spray functions ... a lot of faucets require that the water be turned off first. It also has an optional escutcheon that you could use in you present situation, then discard when you remodel. The handle of the faucet does not rotate farther back than the position of standing straight up, meaning that it won't interfer if you have a backsplash that is close to your faucet. This was not the case with many of the faucets that I looked at.

This post was edited by jellytoast on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 10:34

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I got my faucet and sink from - went to showrooms, found what I liked and then bought it there for MUCH cheaper.

It's important to see them in person because some are very large and arches are higher than you think in pictures.

I went with the Danze Opulence single side-handle faucet, with side spray and matching soap dispenser in chrome to match my cabinet hardware. (

It was under $250 - And I got a Franke Grande (28 inches) undermount single bowl stainless sink.
I wanted a big sink so I got the Franke grande, single bowl under mount stainless

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:41AM
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I think that no matter what you choose now, it might not be what you want in a remodel 5 years or more down the line. Rather than worrying now about finding the perfect faucet for an unknown sink at an unknown date, why don't you choose something that will do the job until then? At HD or Lowe's you can find a perfectly fine faucet for under $120 that will do the job and you won't feel terrible about replacing it before it quits functioning. Maybe even a lot less than $120. Try a faucet style you've been thinking might be interesting and see if you like it. The faucet that came with this house in 1970 didn't wear out until 2009, and by wear out, I mean that the metal thinned and leaked at the top of the spout. I'm quite sure that faucet came from the low end of "builder grade" hardware, but it did the job for a long time.

When you get ready to seriously renovate, that will be the time to invest in a serious faucet.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Great advice, suzannesl! That is exactly what I did when my faucet went out shortly before we planned to start our remodel ... I picked up a really cheap model at Home Depot to tide me over. It worked fine and I didn't have to worry about "saving" it during the demolition.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:28AM
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I believe Moen has a lifetime warranty? When our Moen faucet corroded, my husband emailed the company with pictures as he was ticked, we hand't had it more than 2 years. We had forgotten about the warranty, but the customer service rep called, was very apologetic and offered several versions of the faucet to replace it free of charge. They sent the new one very quickly. It may not be what you want eventually, but it will work in the meantime.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Like suzannesl and jellytoast said above, just find something cheap for the time being. Craigslist or re-sale stores are also an option. I just sold my old faucet on craigslist for $20. Then use the extra time to decide on what you really want.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

You can easily clean under the plate. We did it, and installed a really nice high arch faucet with a soap dispenser and air lock from home depot.

My husband didn't think it could be done, but he was amazed how easy it was to clean under that plate.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:44PM
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A wealth of information from our friends at Starcraft Custom Builders. (I have no connection to them.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Starcraft builders on faucets

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Differences between faucets are the interior components. Brass and metal interiors are the best, and can be fixed or have replacement part for them. Box store faucets are made with plastic components, like someone else previously stated. Which will frequently break within a short time frame or/and leak. Leaky faucet with laminate/formica tops=not a good idea. What no one has mentioned is the low quality faucets, cheap components and metals can flake off into your water. Something you'll never see, but you'll drink or cook with. Food for thought for ya.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Yes, Moen does have a lifetime warranty but only to the original owner, which I am not. They do offer a 10% rebate towards purchase of a new product. In regards to a kitchen renovation, we would like to do it in the near future but are not 100% sure that it will ever happen. We are not a fan of borrowing money to do it, so would need to save quite a bit. Thank you for the advice of finding something that will do. If I can't find it, I like the Delta Trinsic or Brizo Solna. Magnetic docking is a huge plus.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:01PM
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How can you tell if you have plastic internal parts? I purchased a Hansgrohe Talis C faucet from an online distributor - quality bath dot com. It feels heavy & looks high quality.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:16PM
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If you don't have the model number, take a picture, and call 1-800-BUY-MOEN for a replacement.

The service center may want the photo to identify the faucet, if so, FAX it in.

It ususlly takes 6-7 days for the new faucet to arrive.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:40PM
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We have a Moen that we put in our old kitchen a couple years ago when we moved in. We didn't have a receipt for it because my husband got it through his work as a gift. I've had two occasions to call them for assistance and both times they have been stellar in their help.

The first time was an issue where they needed to send a replacement part - it arrived within a couple of days.

The second time was when we were taking it from a plate mount to a undermount sink and we didn't have the little gasket that we would need. I called them, told them what we were doing...that we probably had the gasket at one time, but we didn't now. They sent out a new one with no hassles at all - it wasn't a rush, and it arrived in regular mail within the week.

If you have issues with a Moen, I would definitely at least give them a call to see if they can help you. Hopefully, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Differences in the price of faucets have to do with the amount of brass vs plastic on the inside and whether the finish is integral ie. all metal or a factory metal-coated finish which can be very good and durable. A general way to tell quality is to handle the faucet. The heavier the more metal it has. The most high end faucets tend to be a bit hard to lift.

There's also a cost premium for certain prestige brands for different reasons. Also, place of manufacture can influence cost.

But there are good faucets at every price level.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:51AM
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I'm curious - I'd seen good things about Moen and several of you have indicated that they have great customer service. However, it also seems from this thread that at least several GWers have had quality/reliability issues with their faucets. Are these flukes or is this a pattern of concern?

I ask because I'd just sort of talked myself into the Moen Lindley after seeing it at a big box store - it looks a lot like the Elkay Explore that I really liked but is about $200 cheaper. But I'd rather spend $200 more now if I'm likely to end up with a more reliable faucet in the medium term. Thanks for any advice!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:33AM
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When I was teaching marketing, I used an article about big box stores and the market research techniques of observational research and also the importance of qualitative data. Stores set up cameras and observed customers judging faucets based in good part on their weight as a proxy for quality; follow-up focus groups found that indeed, customers equated heft with quality.

Manufacturers know this when they design their products, and I am sure at least a few bulk them up AND use plastic guts to make a cheap-but-heavy product.

So, that gets me back to the question asked by kgolby -- how can you tell if the insides are metal or plastic?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:37AM
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I can understand the gavavemom's concern about the price of faucets. For the cost of a quality faucet you can buy a pretty good dishwasher or two microwaves, sometimes even a refrigerator. Why are the things so expensive?

They're actually not. You can buy a good quality basic faucet that will give many years of excellent service from any number of sources -- and I mean a brass faucet with a good valve for under $50.00. In fact, I just did a search on my usual faucet e-tail sites and found name brand centerset lavatory faucets for under $30.00.

The problem with these faucets is that, for the most part, they are not at all stylish. They look like the faucet in your mother's or grandmothers (as the case may be) 1970's bathroom.

When you pay $600.00 for a faucet, you are paying about $50.00 for the faucet and $550.00 for the style. Most likely it will not work any better or last any longer than the basic $50.00 faucet.

It's very much like buying cabinet hardware. A basic cabinet door or drawer pull or knob cost less than $1.00 -- in fact I have seen them for as little as 29ยข How, then can someone spend $25.00 and more on a cabinet pull? Easy, they're paying the extra for the style.

As long as you insist that your faucet have style, you are going to pay more for it. You are paying for short production runs and the cost of designing, prototyping, testing and certifying the faucet -- which can easily exceed $100,000. Spreading this start-up cost across a small number of faucets means that quite a lot is added to the cost of each faucet. Not to mention that the manufacturer's markup on designer faucets is much higher -- they have to make their money from fewer items sold.

Plus, as the originator of this thread shows, we don't fix things any more. If it leaks or stops working perfectly, we throw it out and get another one. This makes the lifetime costs of owning faucets much higher. And, it is really dumb because most faucets can be easily fixed. In almost all cases the problem is nothing more than a silicon seal.

My grandfather built a bathroom into his Victorian house in 1912 as a Christmas present to his new bride. In 2012 when the city tore it down to build a new library, every faucet in the room was still working perfectly. On the hot water side of the lavatory, the nickel finish was entirely gone and the brass beneath completely exposed -- but it still worked because it had been carefully maintained for 100 years, by my grandfather, my father, and me. If it needed a new washer, it got one. If the riser leaked, it got a new one.

It was certainly not a stylish faucet (well, actually, today it is stylish once again), but it worked, and my Grandfather, Irish to his bones, would not replace anything that still worked.

It was a Kohler, by the way.

Anyway, so long as you require a faucet be stylish, you are going to pay for the style. The more style, the more you are going to pay. If you want the major league bragging rights of owning a Philipp Starck-Designed Axor (Hansgrohe) faucet, you will pay a major league price. Or, for 1/10th the price, you can own a Delta or Moen that will last nearly forever.

You are the buyer, and the choice is yours. So, what's it going to be?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:57AM
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@gavavemom -- You may have seen the recent Which Kitchen Faucet Did You Choose thread which gives good recommendations and pix. Additionally, Buyers Pick Top Kitchen Faucets is a summary of two previous threads of the same name going back to 2005 here though it was done in 2011.

Today, I'd look for a pull down faucet and maybe on with touch sensor if that seems attractive and there's one that's a good deal.

Cheaper is cheaper. But everyone has a different metric & requirements. And I don't see any harm in wanting a stylish faucet either. Style always cost a bit more whether it's shoes, a car or a faucet. And everyone has different thoughts about style.

A kitchen sink faucet is one of the most used appliances in the house. If you hate the way the faucet works, or it's leaking and causing extra work, I say get rid of it. Get the best one you can afford and one you love to use and look at. There's enough aggravation in life without a leaky faucet.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 12:54

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:29PM
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